Boxed In

The Marriage Manual probably doesn’t have a chapter on packaging, so help me out here.  Is this situation a Mars/Venus thing or simply one more example of how diametrically opposite my Dearly Beloved and I are in our thinking on yet another subject, that of being saved.

When I order something, say from Amazon, and it arrives in one of those sturdy brown corrugated cardboard boxes, I save the box if it looks like one I may be able to use in the future.  I also save gift boxes that flatten and store easily and stash them on a closet shelf with wrapping paper.  Certain experiences are too horrific to ever repeat, like standing in line for the right-sized gift box from “Gift Wrap,” the service located in the most obscure corner of large department stores, where the Half-Speed Is Our Creed motto deters all but The Truly Desperate from actually forking over a purchase to be wrapped-while-u-wait.  And wait.  And wait.

DB seems clearly baffled by my stash of boxes.  He will shake his head in amusement as I nest the boxes and stick them in a corner of the garage or  fiddle with the corners of a gift box to flatten it for storage.

I get the message: You are a packrat, my awesomely fabulous wife, but I will say nothing about this particular little quirk.  

Whenever I use one of those boxes, I point out that I am subtracting one from the pile, proof that my quirky efforts were justified.

A few weeks ago DB opened his new radio/speaker/iPhone charger/clock device and set it up on a bookcase shelf.  He left the box sitting beside it.

Eventually I realized I was dusting around a box, so I looked inside to see why it might still be there. The instruction book and some of those what-thehell-is-all this parts and cords were inside.  I put all the contents in a ziplock bag, labeled, and placed it in the cabinet part of the bookcase– behind doors but conveniently near the appliance.

Dropping the box on top of the recycling bin, I went off to run errands, but returned to find that it had been brought inside, set on a table in the downstairs playroom.

DB informed me that he was saving the box because he might need it.

But I saved everything that was in it,  I told him proudly.

I may need to look at the picture sometime, he said, by way of explanation.

Isn’t that why instruction books are included? The one that had come with this item remained, of course, hermetically sealed in the original plastic.  We have a drawerful of such manuals, all untouched by human hands.

In the garage, however, in case he ever wants to look at the picture on the box, DB has amassed this collection:

I can understand why one would have the box nearby when assembling an item, but keeping it forever….? I’m thinking of flattening the boxes and hanging them on the garage wall for his perusal and enjoyment.  Personally, I find this an exception to the axiom of a picture being worth a thousand words.

After all, the thousand words will fit inside a Ziploc bag.

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12 thoughts on “Boxed In

  1. My husband does the same things with his electronics! I, however, save boxes because I am the Wrapper of Christmas Presents, and we all need good boxes when December rolls around.

  2. Here in NS Canada, if you want to return an item that’s broken, you usually need the original box. So I keep those boxes for a couple of years and then toss them in the recycling. Also, keeping computer boxes is always a good idea in case you (or your kids) should move. But as an “attempting-to-reform” box hoarder, I can attest that you will not use those boxes you keep because they might come in handy. They seldom come in handy! Good luck.

  3. Have you ever noticed that when you go to mail something, which I do all the time, no matter how many boxes you have saved you never have the right size mailing box? I now use post office boxes but I save boxes. All boxes. Nestled in a sacred place in the garage. They make me feel secure. I may pitch the appliance, or gadget (no problem) but I keep the box. So it could be worse and a picture on a box is much better than a picture in one of those awful instruction booklets. Having said all this, you are, of-course, the sane one.

  4. Arkansas Patti

    I do sometimes hang on to the manufacturers boxes in case I have to return the item. Sure enough, when I get tired of the mess and recycle the box, my gadget breaks. Not sure there is a way to win here.
    Generic boxes get flattened immediately and taken to the recycler.

  5. This is too funny as my husband does the exact same thing…I love to save those Amazon boxes and he thinks I’m crazy…..on the other hand he saves all the boxes with the writing all over them so he can’t possibly ever use one for shipping purposes….he tells me he does this incase he ever has to return the item if it becomes defective….Hey, nobody takes back anything anymore….those days are over….

  6. Ahh–the ever raging battle between savers and chuckers. My hubby saves, I chuck.
    Recently, he was cleaning out papers and came upon the motel receipt for our honeymoon! We were married almost 45 years ago! Really!
    On the other hand, I read the manuals he saves–he saves them, rarely reads them.

  7. I never paid attention to this until reading this post. Yes. I save sturdy cardboard boxes for mailing packages and good gift boxes for wrapping presents. There is a terribly frugal part of me that cannot bear to spend money on a box! ( more for yarn, that way!)
    And My Hero would save the boxes from small electronics, but I’ve learned to dismantle them and send them to the recycling bin when he is not looking. He has NEVER gone looking for any of those boxes he “saved”.
    Now if you could explain why teenagers can’t see the shards of shopping reciepts, straw wrappers, snack wrappers, etc, that they leave in their wake. I am pretty sure they are not dropping them to find the way from bedroom to kitchen and back.

  8. We always save boxes for items that have a warranty. And we save boxes that might be good for later mailing. Where we differ is that my husband NEVER reads a manual and I not only read them all, I store them all in the same place so they are at hand for troubleshooting. My husband is content to just ask me what to do if something needs “fixing” or even re-setting. I even have a folder for receipts and warranties on electronics and major appliances.

  9. My daughter about freaked out when I started to throw away the box for my new laptop. I am NOT a box saver. Even the boxes you’re supposed to save. (Thank goodness my daughter stepped in when she did!)

  10. Hah! I have boxes filled with those “what-the-hell-is-all this parts and cords”. What am I supposed to do with them? Will I need something later if I throw them out now?
    Re sacks and boxes: When my mother died, my sister and I were shocked to find an entire (large) closet filled with paper bags…all kinds. Ceiling to floor. And then, in a storage closet in the garage, boxes. Don’t do it to your kids; get rid of the crap.

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